Distinguished Scientist Award Goes to FPL Researcher

JunYong Zhu, research general engineer at the Forest Products Laboratory, was recently presented with the Forest Service Deputy Chief’s Distinguished Science Award.

FPL Researcher JunYong Zhu

FPL Researcher JunYong Zhu

Jimmy Reaves, Deputy Chief of Research and Development, awarded Zhu the honor for his “sustained productivity and scientific excellence in creating innovative market-based solutions for the utilization of low-value forest-based biomass.”  Reaves went on to say Zhu is “a credit to the Forest Service and the larger research community.”

The award is a special honor for Zhu, a new immigrant to the United States and whose parents were farmers with little education. “I am very grateful for the education I received that equipped me with life learning skills,” said Zhu. “This can only happen in America.”

Zhu is also quick to thank those who have helped him along the way. “I am grateful for the many great people, including collaborators, visiting scientists, and scholars, who diligently contributed to my research program,” Zhu added.

“We are proud of JY’s work and his great public service as we strive to make our forests healthy, sustainable and more resilient to disturbances,” said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Forest Products Laboratory and Northern Research Station.

Interestingly, Zhu’s education and background is not in wood science, but rather mechanical and aerospace engineering. He is now firmly rooted in the world of wood, however, with current research focusing on using undervalued materials, such as beetle-killed trees, for biofuel and nanocellulose production, as well as fundamental research on cell wall deconstruction.